INFINITE -- Wahlberg Persists
Review by Adam Donato
When it comes to movies, Antoine Fuqua’s directorial career ranges from pretty solid to whatever. Training Day is one of the greatest movies of the 21st century, but in the last two decades, it is clear that it was an anomaly. His latest entry, Infinite, is more of the same. This time, we don’t even get to see someone as good as Denzel Washington.
Mark Wahlberg stars in this action and he just might be the most unlikable movie star in the business. Just like Will Smith and Liam Neeson, Wahlberg is the same guy in every movie. Imagine how great he would be if he stopped trying to lead big movies like this. Remember when his best role was a supporting one in The Departed? One may have to think back hard because Wahlberg is getting old and in Infinite, his age is really starting to show.
Besides name recognition, why is Wahlberg starring in this movie instead of Dylan O’Brien? The plot is that of the typical fantasy-adventure movie. A lost soul is lured into an adventure by the white rabbit, usually in the form of an attractive love interest, as he discovers that not only is he special, but he might just be the chosen one meant to save the world. This feels like a franchise setup and Wahlberg is dangerously close to fifty. That being said, he has enough personality to carry this movie to at least mediocrity.
None of this matters because Wahlberg plays a character who realizes that he is a reincarnation that has lived many lives. So in the sequel, his character will be played by somebody different. That is if the reaction to this movie necessitates a sequel. Obviously, there have been sequels to movies that went straight to streaming, but who knows these days. It used to be where the box office would say it all. Those days are coming back, but they’ve been gone for a while now. Will fans be talking about Infinite? Will people sign up for Paramount+ so they can see Infinite and stay for the other content? Streaming services don’t reveal their stats, so who is to know.
To address the supporting cast, they’re actually pretty solid. Chiwetel Ejiofor is a commanding villain. Obviously, he’s the best actor of the bunch and his talent is on full display here. Sophie Cookson plays the white rabbit and the most interesting part about her character is that she is not the love interest. What a relief too as she is just about twenty years younger than Wahlberg. O’Brien and Rupert Friend are barely in the movie enough to have an opinion. Jason Mantzoukas is an obnoxious jokester as usual.
The reincarnation aspect of the movie is not without interest. The concept of two groups of people who live continuous lives fighting against each other for the fate of the world is somewhat basic. One of the cool things about it is that the bad guys put the souls of the good guy on a disc instead of killing them because they will just be reincarnated anyways. It’s also just interesting how all the characters can come back as other people in other lives. Honestly, this would be solid material for a franchise if there was a first film that would establish more of a impactful foundation. Wahlberg is a temporary fix. He’s no longer a franchise starter, arguably never was. The later Transformers movies deserve zero recognition, but inserting Wahlberg in the lead role only barely kept them afloat.
Infinite is serviceable enough. Nobody is subscribing to another streaming service or even getting a free trial to watch this movie. There is a ceiling on how good a Wahlberg movie can be. To this movie’s credit, thanks to the concept it is one of his better ones as of late. Seeing as the book this movie is based on barely got made anyways, it’s hard to see Infinite growing past the first film, at least not with the budget and name recognition this first installment had. It’s not necessarily bad, but this hero’s journey doesn’t have enough to make it feel fresh.
Infinite is now streaming on Paramount+.
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